Hibernian record their highest home win in the League, with a stunning 11-1 victory over Hamilton. The match is played on the day the Club open a new enclosure in the North end of Easter Road Stadium.
After disappointing replay defeats in both the League Cup Semi Final and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, Hibernian were looking to get back to winning ways in the League. And when Hamilton Academical arrived at Easter Road on Saturday 6th November 1965, they were to be the first visiting team to play at an Easter Road boasting a new covered enclosure.
The 'shed' as it became affectionately known, had been erected behind the goals at the now Famous Five Stand end of the ground and Hibs celebrated the formal opening of it in style by thumping Accies 11-1 with the goals spread around between Eric Stevenson (3), Jimmy O'Rourke (2), Jim Scott (2), Peter Cormack, Davy Hogg, Joe Davis and an own goal with Stan Anderson getting the Accies consolation. Stevie's hat trick was his first for the Club and took him onto ten goals for the season at that stage.
George McNeil playing in front of the new enclosure against St Johnstone in December 1965
Members past and present of the Hibernian Supporters Association in Sunnyside will be interested to read that the following Monday their clubrooms were opened at the then address of 172 Easter Road Lane. Hibs' Chairman William P. Harrower formally opened the Clubrooms a couple of weeks later at a Dinner Dance organised to celebrate the affair.
Manager Shankly's return to Dens
From 12 goals in one game to 7 in the next there was certainly no shortage of goalmouth action whenever Hibs were playing. On this occasion, however, only 3 of those 7 were scored by the greens as they went down 4-3 to Dundee at Dens Park with goals from Jimmy O'Rourke, Eric Stevenson and Pat Stanton failing to make Bob Shankly's return to his old stamping ground a happy one. Hibs were excellent value for money going forward but were prone to defensive lapses and on this occasion it had cost them dear with another two points dropped.
In an effort to overcome the defensive shortcomings, Shankly signed Alan Cousin from Dundee and the big fella made a winning debut appearance as Hibs travelled to Annfield and defeated a plucky Stirling Albion 2-1. Cousin, who replaced the suspended John McNamee, made good use of the ball throughout and was involved in the passing move which saw Peter Cormack score the opener. A Joe Davis penalty secured the points.
Alan Cousin was signed from Dundee by Bob Shankly
In form Dunfermline provided the Easter Road opposition the following Saturday. The Pars arrived as third placed behind Rangers and Celtic and on the back of a seven game unbeaten run including a 6 goal romp at Shawfield the previous Saturday. That run had produced 35 goals, a fantastic average of 5 per game and so Hibs would have to be at their best to stop the goal scoring machine. There had been an early winter snowfall the night before the game which made conditions tricky underfoot but both teams served up decent football and the end result of 1-1 was a fair reflection of the game. The Pars scored through Alex Ferguson whilst Hibs' Jimmy O'Rourke netted his sixth of the season with a finely placed header beyond keeper Eric Martin who had replaced Jim Herriot in the Dunfermline goal following the latter's transfer to Birmingham City.
The Scottish weather worsened and the scheduled home fixture against Dundee United suffered a late postponement and would not actually take place until the following April which was probably a bigger blow to Jimmy O'Rourke than most as he looked set to claim the number 10 jersey vacated by Neil Martin who had been transferred to Sunderland. It was nearing half way in the League race with Rangers leading on 24 points, Celtic next on 21 and Hibs lying 5th with 17. Four Hibs men were ever presents until that point and they were Joe Davis, Pat Stanton, Jim Scott and Eric Stevenson.
Failings in front of goal cost Hibs dear in their next match against Celtic at Parkhead. The popular post match consensus was that Hibs had been the better team but were punished for failing to take the chances which came their way whilst John 'Yogi' Hughes and Joe McBride did their jobs in securing a 2-0 win for the home side. Although postponements had hit the first team, the reserves were still managing to play and one or two names were jumping out from the various match reports. Centre Forward Stan Vincent struck his tenth goal of the season to beat Reserve League leaders Celtic whilst at the same time keeper Thomson Allan managed a fourth successive shut out.
As Christmas fast approached St. Johnstone turned up at Easter Road hoping Hibs would be in a giving mood. They were but sadly for the Saints it was a 3-0 thumping that was given with Peter Cormack, Alan Cousin and Jimmy O'Rourke getting the goals. The reserves were also going well and a new name had begun to appear regularly amongst the scorers - Colin Stein.
On Christmas Day 1965 Hibs travelled to Pittodrie where they faced an Aberdeen team which had not lost in its previous ten games. Courtesy of goals from Peter Cormack, Jim Scott and John McNamee that run was ended as Hibs took the points in a 3-1 win and moved on to 21 points from 16 games, just 6 behind leaders Celtic. McNamee's goal could have been added to in that game but for a goal line clearance by Ally Shewan but the one that did count was his fifth of the season, a valuable contribution by the big defender.
A Hearts comeback in the first match of 1966
Having given up their Christmas Day the players now had to forfeit New Year's Day also, with the pitch at Easter Road being fit for play and of course Hearts providing the opposition. The Gorgie side was not doing so well in this League campaign but they arrived looking to avenge the 4-0 drubbing Hibs had given them back in September at Tynecastle. Storming into a two goal lead thanks to a brace from Peter Cormack, Hibs looked good value for the points but the defensive lapses that had blighted earlier results came back with a vengeance and Hearts scored three times without reply, via Willie Wallace, Don Kerrigan and a very unfortunate own goal from John McNamee. [i]"What must Hibs do to beat Hearts"[i/] would have been the question on the lips of the home fans as they trooped out after the game. That comeback extended the Gorgie men's run to thirteen seasons without losing at Easter Road which no doubt spoiled as many New Year parties as it enhanced!
So 1966 had not started well for Hibs and two days later Kilmarnock compounded the misery by winning a tight game 1-0 at Rugby Park where the greens played well below their best and lost Jimmy O'Rourke during the game after the youngster took a sore one on the shin. Two straight defeats did not help the League position and Shankly was anxious to reverse that trend and so shook the team up a little for the visit of Morton the following Saturday.
Spotted playing left back or left half for Armadale Thistle, Colin Stein was snapped up by Hibs and pushed straight into the reserve team where he turned out as a striker and bagged 11 goals in 12 games, earning him the chance to make his debut for the first eleven who turned out against Morton on Saturday 8 January 1966. Although not amongst the goals his fine play contributed to a good 4-1 victory which saw Jimmy O'Rourke and Peter Cormack each grab a double.
With the Scottish Cup looming Shankly was anxious to try and get some consistency going amongst his players but his cause was not helped at Brockville the following weekend when the Bairns did what others had done before in overhauling a Hibs lead to win the game 3-2. The Hibs goals were the first of many which Colin Stein would score in his career but the youngster would have been disappointed that the points were lost when there for the taking. Scoring two for the Bairns that day was future Hibs signing Johnny Graham.
A new enclosure is opened in the North end of the ground.
Hibernian record their highest League win at Easter Road, thrashing Hamilton 11-1.
A Hearts comeback saw the Gorgie side beat Hibernian 3-2 at Tynecastle on New Year's Day in 1966.
The Club sign players including Alan Cousin and Colin Stein during this period.
Written by John Campbell as part of the 'Another Generation' series